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How much notice are employers required to provide?

Great question! Usually when an employee is dismissed, the employer is required to provide the employee notice. However, there are certain exceptions and employers should be aware of the times when no notice is required to be paid.

Notice periods do not apply to employees who:

  • are fired because of serious misconduct (eg. engaging in theft, fraud or assault)
  • are casual
  • are employed for a specific period of time or task (eg. a fixed term contract)
  • do seasonal work
  • have a training arrangement and are employed for a set period of time or for the length of the training arrangement (other than an apprentice)
  • are daily hire working in the building and construction or meat industry
  • are weekly hire working in connection with the meat industry and whose termination depends on seasonal factors.

It’s important for employers to be aware that even though they have the right to dismiss an employee when the employee has engaged in serious misconduct, the employer is obligated to:

  • establish that the employee has in fact engaged in serious misconduct (i.e.: undertake a thorough investigation of the allegations);
  • follow a procedure to afford the employee natural justice. Such procedure might include meeting with the employee, offering a support person for discussions, advising of the issue/s, presenting evidence (such as witness statements), offering the employee the right of reply and taking time to consider all aspects of the evidence before making a decision on the outcome; and
  • pay the employee all outstanding entitlements such as payment for time worked, annual leave and sometimes, long service leave.

Information on notice and final pay is available from the Fair Work Ombudsman here.

While taking the decision to dismiss an employee for assaulting a co-worker might seem relatively simple, the process around managing your risk to ensure things don’t come back to bite you is a little more complex. Bare Bones Consulting specialises in making things easy for you: from tailoring a cost effective incident investigation, simple advice on how much notice you’re required to provide and even drafting termination of employment documents, we got your back. As for protecting your head from your (apparently) crazy employee…that’s up to you.

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Note: Bare Bones Consulting provides HR services for employers. Employees seeking advice on workplace concerns should contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94.